What is Medical Malpractice “Tail” Coverage?

March 29, 2022

If a person sustains an injury or illness caused by the negligent actions of a medical provider, they may be able to recover compensation for their losses. As with most other types of lawsuits, insurance carriers and the coverage they provide will play a major role in a medical malpractice case. However, what happens if a medical malpractice victim files a lawsuit against a provider after the provider’s malpractice insurance policy has lapsed? In these situations, the medical provider may have something called “tail coverage” to handle these expenses.

Understanding Medical Malpractice Tail Coverage

In order to understand medical malpractice tail coverage, we have to examine standard medical malpractice insurance policies.

Just about every type of medical provider, particularly those at a higher level (doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, etc.), have medical malpractice insurance that provides protection against losses or damages arising out of an injury or death caused by a medical mistake or medical negligence.

For example, if a doctor fails to properly examine a person’s test results and misses a diagnosis because of this, they could face a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice insurance is designed to pay for these types of expenses. Not only does medical malpractice insurance protect an individual medical practitioner, but also the facility where they work.

However, it is not uncommon for medical malpractice claims to be filed against an individual after they have already let their malpractice insurance lapse. This could be due to the medical practitioner retiring or changing career fields.

Medical malpractice tail coverage provides protection for any malpractice claims that are filed after the medical malpractice policy expires or is canceled. It is not uncommon for medical malpractice tail coverage to run for a significant amount of time because not practice claims in West Virginia can technically be filed up to 10 years after an incident occurs, depending on the situation.

Medical malpractice tail coverage only protects the health care provider for actions that were committed during the original malpractice policy period, not anything that happens after.

What Types of Compensation Are Available Through Tail Coverage?

Medical malpractice tail coverage typically provides compensation for the same types of damages as a traditional medical malpractice policy, though this can vary depending on the terms of the policy. Generally, this means that a medical malpractice victim will be able to recover compensation for:

  • All medical expenses arising as a result of the medical mistake
  • Lost wages if they cannot work while recovering
  • Various out-of-pocket expenses
  • Physical pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional and psychological distress

Do You Need to Work With an Attorney?

If you or somebody you care about has been injured as a result of the actions of a medical provider, you need to speak to a skilled medical malpractice attorney in Martinsburg immediately. These cases can be complex, particularly if the medical provider is no longer working in the field or has retired. Your attorney can examine the facts of the case and explore all routes for recovering compensation, including medical malpractice tail coverage. When you receive a free consultation of your claim, your personal injury attorney will walk you through this process so you understand what steps need to be taken next.


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